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8 Tips on Moving Through Grief in the Age of Social Media

The digital age can make certain emotional experiences extremely difficult to move through. When loss, transition, or any type of event that can bring about mourning and grief occurs, social media and the overwhelming amount information on the internet, can make going through these experiences challenging in a way that previous generations did not have to deal with.

This past week, the world lost a person that was idolized beyond talent, but was inspirational for his drive, mental strength philosophies, and leadership. In connection to the loss of Kobe Bryant, many people felt impacted by the loss of children and parents that were aboard his helicopter, who also passed. Anytime a flying vessel gets into an accident that leaves fatalities, it feels tragic. But this, to the world, has been absolutely tragic.

Major stories like these, stop the average person in their track, and lead one to consider the unpredictability of life, and realize the limits of mortality. When we have big news stories like this, especially when the story is surrounding a major public figure, it brings up so many other complexities around grief.

Because we are human, we are connected; and we always have the capacity to feel pain when others, whether we know them or not, are hurt, experiencing injustice, or in pain. It is no shock that people of all backgrounds, all around the world, are being impacted by this helicopter accident, which will continue to be in headlines for the next week or so. Beyond this news, it appears that every other week, we hear of a natural disaster, politically motivated act of violence, or mass shooting that is tragic.

In light of not only the loss of the Kobe and Gianna Bryant, but also John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah and Peyton Chester, Ara Zobayan, and Christina Mauser, I would like to share 8 tips on how to navigate grief in the social media age.

Limit intake of social media and news surrounding death.

The brain is having a difficult time enough processing change; being over exposed to images and content does in fact, make the pain deeper. Finding the healthy balance between acceptance and avoidance is important, but too much exposure can cause a sense of trauma to the mind.

2. Limit exposure to details of death.

Contrary to popular belief, details of death do not grant “closure” or ensure emotional composure. In fact, it may do the opposite. It may illicit fear, worry, and lasting fixation on how the person passed. As a result, your brain may create its own images which may replay causing you to re-experience the person’s death, thus creating difficult emotions.

3. Take alone time when overwhelmed by other’s condolences.

People mean well, around the times of death, however, sometimes you just need to breathe. Within the first 24–72 hours there is intense shock and grief. Handle your energy and attention with care. Its ok to take time to be with your initial thoughts and emotions around the loss, without engaging in conversation.

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